2020 Porsche 718 Cayman vs. 2020 Subaru BRZ

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The 718 Cayman Auto offers optional Porsche Active Safety, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The BRZ doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The 718 Cayman’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The BRZ doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

The 718 Cayman has standard Porsche Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The BRZ doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the 718 Cayman and the BRZ have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

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The 718 Cayman comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The BRZ’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 718 Cayman’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the BRZ’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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The battery on the 718 Cayman is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 718 Cayman’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The BRZ’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche 15th in initial quality. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche second in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Porsche fourth in reliability. Subaru is ranked 7th.

Engine

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The 718 Cayman has more powerful engines than the BRZ:

Horsepower

Torque

718 Cayman 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

300 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

718 Cayman S 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder

350 HP

309 lbs.-ft.

718 Cayman GT4 4.0 GT3 6-cylinder

414 HP

309 lbs.-ft.

BRZ 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder Auto

200 HP

151 lbs.-ft.

BRZ 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder Manual

205 HP

156 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Porsche 718 Cayman 2.0 is faster than the Subaru BRZ (manual transmissions tested):

718 Cayman

BRZ

Zero to 60 MPH

4.3 sec

6.3 sec

Quarter Mile

12.7 sec

14.9 sec

As tested in Motor Trend the Porsche 718 Cayman 2.0 is faster than the Subaru BRZ (automatics tested):

718 Cayman

BRZ

Zero to 60 MPH

4.1 sec

7.7 sec

Quarter Mile

12.5 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

111.2 MPH

91.5 MPH

In a Car and Driver racecourse test, the Porsche 718 Cayman was clocked 17.3 seconds faster than the Subaru BRZ (176.7 sec. vs. 194 sec.).

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regenerative brakes improve the 718 Cayman’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The BRZ doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 718 Cayman’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The BRZ doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The 718 Cayman’s standard fuel tank has a gallon more fuel capacity than the BRZ (14.2 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The 718 Cayman’s optional fuel tank has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the BRZ (16.9 vs. 13.2 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Porsche 718 Cayman higher (3 out of 10) than the Subaru BRZ (1). This means the 718 Cayman produces up to 22.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the BRZ every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A seven-speed automatic (PDK) is available on the Porsche 718 Cayman, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the BRZ.

The 718 Cayman offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (PDK). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, a sequential manual gearbox is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The BRZ doesn’t offer a sequential manual gearbox.

The 718 Cayman PDK’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The BRZ doesn’t offer launch control.

The Porsche 718 Cayman manual offers a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The BRZ doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 718 Cayman’s brake rotors are larger than those on the BRZ:

718 Cayman

Cayman opt.

Cayman GT4

GT4 opt.

BRZ

BRZ Performance Package/tS

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.8 inches

15 inches

16.1 inches

11.6 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13.8 inches

15 inches

15.4 inches

11.4 inches

12.4 inches

The 718 Cayman offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The BRZ doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The 718 Cayman stops much shorter than the BRZ:

718 Cayman

BRZ

70 to 0 MPH

141 feet

165 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

97 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 718 Cayman has larger standard tires than the BRZ (F:235/45R18 & R:265/45R18 vs. 215/45R17). The 718 Cayman’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the BRZ (F:245/35R20 & R:305/30R20 vs. 215/45R17).

The 718 Cayman’s optional 245/35R20 front and 305/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the BRZ ts’ 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 718 Cayman has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the BRZ. The 718 Cayman GTS/T’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the BRZ ts.

Suspension and Handling

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The 718 Cayman has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The BRZ’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The 718 Cayman offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The BRZ’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The 718 Cayman handles at 1.06 G’s, while the BRZ Limited pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 718 Cayman S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.9 seconds quicker than the BRZ Limited (23.7 seconds @ .89 average G’s vs. 26.6 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

Chassis

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the 718 Cayman has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The BRZ uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the 718 Cayman is quieter than the BRZ Limited (84 vs. 85 dB).

Passenger Space

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The 718 Cayman has 2 inches more front headroom and .3 inches more front legroom than the BRZ.

Cargo Capacity

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The 718 Cayman has a much larger trunk than the BRZ (15 vs. 6.9 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the 718 Cayman. The BRZ doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just holding your hand near the emblem on the trunk can open the 718 Cayman’s available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The BRZ doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The 718 Cayman uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The BRZ uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The 718 Cayman has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The BRZ doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the 718 Cayman to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Subaru doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the BRZ.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Porsche service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in service department satisfaction. With a 64% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 19th.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the 718 Cayman, the optional memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and climate settings. The BRZ doesn’t offer a memory system.

The 718 Cayman’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The BRZ doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The 718 Cayman’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The BRZ does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The 718 Cayman’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch. The BRZ has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The 718 Cayman’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The BRZ’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the 718 Cayman offers an optional rear wiper. The BRZ doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 718 Cayman offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The BRZ doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 718 Cayman detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The BRZ doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 718 Cayman offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The BRZ doesn’t offer cornering lights.

When the 718 Cayman with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The BRZ’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 718 Cayman’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The BRZ offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the 718 Cayman keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The BRZ doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the 718 Cayman’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The BRZ doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The 718 Cayman has a standard center folding armrest for the driver and front passenger. A center armrest helps combat driver fatigue. The BRZ doesn’t offer a front seat center armrest.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the 718 Cayman PDK offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The BRZ doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Model Availability

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The Porsche 718 comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Subaru BRZ isn’t available as a convertible.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the 718 Cayman owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 718 Cayman will cost $1570 less than the BRZ over a five-year period.

The 718 Cayman will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 718 Cayman will retain 59.69% to 60.13% of its original price after five years, while the BRZ only retains 48.54% to 50.81%.

Recommendations

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The Cayman was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 14 of the last 15 years. The BRZ hasn’t been picked since 2013.

The 718 Cayman was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 3 of the last 7 years. The BRZ hasn’t been picked since 2014.

The Porsche 718 outsold the Subaru BRZ by 66% during 2019.

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